By Ron Kampeas and Selah Maya Zighelboim
After months of speculation, President Joe Biden has chosen Chanan Weissman as White House liaison to the Jewish community.
Weissman, 37, was President Barack Obama’s Jewish liaison in the last months of his presidency. Sources close to the White House on Thursday confirmed the choice. Weissman is from Baltimore, where he graduated from Beth Tfiloh Dahan Community School.
Weissman’s LinkedIn profile says he has since May been director of technology and democracy at the White House’s National Security Council.
Jewish groups have been pressing the White House to name a Jewish liaison and a State Department antisemitism monitor as antisemitism has spiked in recent months. Last week, Biden nominated Deborah Lipstadt, a noted Holocaust historian, to be the antisemitism monitor.
The Anti-Defamation League praised the appointment.
“Especially in light of the recent rise in antisemitic incidents, we’re pleased the White House has chosen Chanan Weissman to finally fill the position of liaison to the Jewish American community,” Jonathan Greenblatt, the ADL CEO, said in a statement. “This will improve the Biden Administration’s ability to foster relationships with the Jewish community and work with stakeholders to address concerns such as antisemitism and extremism.”
Weissman first came to the role in April 2016 after a long stint working in the office of the antisemitism monitor, who was at the time Ira Forman.
Weissman returned to the State Department with Donald Trump’s assumption of the presidency in 2017 as a career hire, not a political appointee, and remained in the department in various capacities through April.
The graduate of Georgetown’s School of Foreign Service has also worked at the Pentagon on Middle East issues. In addition to his master’s from Georgetown, Weissman has a bachelor’s degree in journalism in government and politics from the University of Maryland College Park.
When Weissman was first named to the position in 2016, Zipora Schorr, director of education at Beth Tfiloh Dahan Community School, told the JT that Weissman was involved in student government and always put others first.
“He did a lot of community service,” she said. “He volunteered constantly. He was involved because his family was involved.”